A husband and wife offer their easy-to-read collection of practical suggestions for an affordable retirement.
When Randy and Jane Kirk (he worked for the IRS for 25 years, and her 22-year career was with a large insurance firm) decided to retire in their 50s, they soon discovered their nest egg couldn’t sustain their lifestyle. They also found that many retirees are in even worse shape. Citing a 2013 study authored by Nari Rhee, a retirement specialist at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, the Kirks contend that in 2010, one-third of Americans ages 55 to 64 had no savings to finance their retirement. Not wanting to go back to work full time, the frugal twosome found ways to manage their underfunded retirement. Their smorgasbord of quick, friendly advice ranges from the startling, like living in a vehicle until better economic times, to the familiar, such as how to save money by cutting out bad habits like smoking. In this slim edition, the authors emphasize ways to reduce expenses (maybe it’s time to downsize to a smaller, cheaper house) and produce more income (investing in the stock market or starting a very small business, like mowing lawns). There are also day-to-day ideas for cutting financial corners; e.g., buy inexpensive eyeglasses through online companies like Zenni Optical. Doctors and hospitals will sometimes reduce the prices of medical procedures, say the Kirks, and they note the website Healthcare Blue Book to help determine fair market price. The authors propose beginning with a written personal assessment in which all retirement hopes and dreams are detailed and using a written budget with the help of an envelope system; for example, a predetermined amount of cash for groceries would be kept in one envelope, and no more is to be spent on groceries that week. Those who are truly broke may already be living many of these ideas; e.g., cooking cheaper meals from scratch instead of eating out. But for readers who are beginning to panic about their retirement years, the Kirks’ warm advice is comforting and practical.
Brief, common-sense survival tips for a more secure future.